The decrease was primarily due to actions taken by our businesses to reduce emissions in areas such as flaring, methane and energy efficiency.
Other factors contributing to the decrease included operational changes, such as lower throughput at some of our downstream sites in Germany and increased gas being captured and exported to the liquefied natural gas facility in Angola, as well as the divestment of some of our North Sea assets.
We saw a large decrease in the total volume of flaring – the controlled burning of gas during oil and gas production – in our upstream business. This was driven predominantly by reduced flaring at our assets in Angola, Asia Pacific and the North Sea. We are aiming for zero routine flaring by 2030, as part of an initiative by the World Bank.
We also track GHG intensity, which is the quantity of GHGs emitted per a defined unit of production or processing.
In 2018 we saw an improvement in our upstream GHG intensity, mostly due to an overall reduction in GHG emissions due to flaring reductions, increased operational reliability and the completion of start-up activities.